Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal | Reflections on a lucky weekend for Wenger

Today I watched Spurs dominate Man Utd but lose. Spurs had 57% possession, 18 shots to United’s six and won the corner count 7-3. It was a lucky result for Sir Alex and a lucky result for us Gooners.

Yesterday I watched Liverpool dominate Arsenal but lose. Liverpool had 54% possession, 12 shots to Arsenal’s 10 and won the corner count 13-0. It was a lucky result for Wenger and a lucky result for us Gooners.

The luckiest result of all though was actually last June when Abramovich hired Andre Villas Boas. He has so badly mismanaged a team nailed-on for a top four spot that they are in free-fall and didn’t even put up a fight against West Brom yesterday. That we now have a good chance of Champions League football is as much down to AVB as it is to our own efforts.

I was hopeful that we would really push on after the tremendous win over Spurs, but the performance at Anfield was truly horrific. I hate to be negative, but after the euphoria of van Persie’s winner had subsided I was left wondering how we managed to put in such an abject display.

Our defending was once again shocking. There were so many basic errors, especially in the first half, that are occuring so often this season it’s becoming an unfunny joke. Koscielny has been our best defender this term but his own goal summed up our lack of composure and competence at the back. Only the brilliance of Szczesny kept us in the game and he was rightly lauded for his performance.

Robin van Persie heads Arsenal in front against Liverpool

One of our few decent attacks sees RVP head us level

Going forward wasn’t much better. Apart from our goals, we had two chances in the whole match. Theo forced a good save from Reina early on and then should have done better with a side-footed effort in the second half which the keeper kicked away.

Speaking of Walcott, I mentioned last week that his performances perfectly mirror Arsenal’s because he is so inconsistent. Well, after being treated to a brilliant 45 minutes from ‘Vibrant Theo’ last week, we had the displeasure of witnessing the return of ‘Clueless Theo’ at Anfield. I don’t want to single him out because everyone except Szczesny and van Persie were poor, but his failure to capitalise on his Spurs performance frustrated me immensely.

As did the team’s failure to repeat the good things they did last Sunday. Where was the pressing game that was so effective in the second half last week? Only one team was closing down their opponents with any sort of vigour and it wasn’t Arsenal. Liverpool played as though they wanted it more than us and that’s unacceptable.

Don’t get me wrong, I am chuffed we got the three points and it’s about time we had some luck. I am being critical because I can see that if we play like that in the remaining eleven games we won’t get enough points to hold off Chelsea, never mind take advantage of Spurs’ crumbling confidence.

So we find ourselves in a great position thanks to the misfortune and ineptitude of our rivals. I don’t think I’m taking anything away from us here — we’ve only really played well twice since Christmas (against Blackburn and Spurs) and if it wasn’t for the goals of van Persie we’d be about 11th. A fantastic opportunity has fallen into our laps and we must shake off this inconsistency and cut out the silly mistakes before Chelsea get their act together.

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  1. Chris

    Assuming that Chelsea do get their act together, you mean. That is itself unlikely, but I take your point. We can’t afford to let this opportunity slide, because it has been handed to us on a plate. Simply put, we haven’t been good enough as a team this season. I am getting a bit tired of this “If it weren’t for Van Persie” talk, because the fact is, he is our player and he would not be the player he is today were it not for Wenger. What his situation has highlighted, however, is the deficiencies of our other forwards, although we have not had to rely on them at any point this season, so we don’t know for certain how we’d do in Van Persie’s absence. Maybe Chamakh and Park would have stepped up, who knows. Let’s not forget how impressive Chamakh was in the absence of Van Persie last season.

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  2. dan1

    Failed to mention how many shots Liverpool had on target compared to Arsenal.
    And at the end of the day, their goal was an o.g.
    Just like it was at the Emirates earlier this season when we bossed them, had a man sent off, and got an o.g goal at the death that should’ve been flagged offside.

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  3. aj

    The poor defending is not the fault of the defence, it’s down to the lack of cover provided by midfield. We comprehensively lost the midfield battle yesterday, which meant that Liverpool swarmed all over our defenders – there wasn’t a lot that they could do about that. It is interesting though that, although the stats show that Spurs dominated Man Utd far more than Liverpool did us, that barely gets a mention.

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  4. Gerg

    Fatigue and travel weariness had part to play in our efforts against Liverpool. I wish Wenger would play the reserves against Milan on Tuesday; our first team needs the week off. A top four position in the Premier League is more important and we just don’t have the quality or stamina to fight in two arenas.

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  5. mj

    What a great week for arsenal, really couldn’t have asked for more. Its true we didn’t play well but that’s how it goes sometimes. Liverpool had to win the match, they played really well in my opinion and yet we won, the first team to beat them at anfield. If we do play like this in the next 11 games then its gonna be tough but I don’t think we will. Let’s take it 1 match at a time and let’s hope we go on a good run till the end of the season. I can understand why your worried but having had a very very tough season, don’t think after beating sunderland,spurs and liverpool its time to be negative. To be honest I wasn’t even expecting 5 points from these matches and yet we collected 9!

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